Weekly Feature

2017-08-09 / Local News

B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ to take flight over Buffalo

The Liberty Foundation’s 2017 Salute to Veterans tour will visit Buffalo with the World War II Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Madras Maiden” on Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, Prior Aviation, 50 N. Airport Drive.

Public flights and ground tours will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with flights scheduled for the morning and tours in the afternoon. During the flight, passengers will have the opportunity to move about the aircraft to the different combat crew positions to see the viewpoint that thousands saw in combat more than 70 years ago.

The “Madras Maiden” is one of only 12 B-17s still flying today and is celebrating 72 years since the end of World War II, according to a press release from the Liberty Foundation.

There were 12,732 B-17s produced between 1935 and 1945; of these, 4,735 were lost in combat. “Madras Maiden” was built toward the end of the war and never saw any combat. It is painted in the colors of the 381st Bomb Group. The 381st flew 297 operational missions during the war, dropping 22,000 tons of bombs. During this time, it lost 131 B-17s and downed more than 223 enemy aircraft, the release said.

The B-17 flight experience takes 45 minutes, with approximately a half-hour in flight. B-17 flights cost $410 for Liberty Foundation members and $450 for nonmembers. Passengers can become a Liberty Foundation member for $40 and receive the member discount for family and friends.

The Liberty Foundation is a nonprofit flying museum, and funds generated help offset the high cost of maintaining the B-17 for flights and tours, the press release said.

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